Also known as a meteor crater, an impact crater is formed when a meteorite comes into contact with the Earth’s surface. It’s believed that one such impact with a very large meteorite is what led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Of course, our Earth has been battered by meteorites numerous times since its creation and there are thousands of impact craters dotting the Earth. But, below are 5 of what I believe are the most incredible impact sites in the world.
1. Meteor Crater, United States
Also known as Barringer Crater, this impact crater can be found in northern Arizona. I’ve visited this crater and it is, indeed, incredible! Scientists believe it was created 50,000 years ago by an iron ore meteorite that was approximately 164 feet in diameter. The crater itself is 3,900 feet in diameter, and 570 feet deep.
2. Amguid Crater, Algeria
The Amguid Crater in Algeria is about 1700 feet in diameter and 213 feet deep. But, because it has been partially filled with sand, there is no way to know how deep the crater was after impact. Due to its remote location, it was discovered fairly recently – 1948. It is one of the most well-preserved and least visited craters in the world. It’s thought to be around 100,000 years old.
3. Wolfe Creek Crater, Western Australia
Wolfe Creek Crater is a very well-preserved impact crater that can be found in Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater National Park, Western Australia. It is about 2,870 feet in diameter and 196 feet deep. It was first discovered in 1947 and is an estimated 300,000 years old.
4. Sudbury Crater, Canada
Located in Ontario, this impact crater Scientists once believed that tthe impact crater was 200 km across and about 10 km deep. Recent evidence indicates that it is actually not a circle but more of an oval shape, spanning 80 km in length and 27 km in width. It is one of the oldest impact craters on Earth and is estimated to be 1.84 million years old! Fragments from the meteorite that created this crater were also found in Minnesota, U.S. – 500 miles away!
5. Vredefort Crater
And, finally, to end my list is not only the largest, but also the oldest impact crater on Earth. It is located in the Free State Province, South Africa and is an estimated 2 billion years old! It measure 190 miles in diameter. Its original depth is unknown as the crater has been badly eroded. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 due to its geographical significance.